Mischievous fairy to ‘cast a spell’ over Milton Keynes

Caroline Wettergreen as La Fee
Caroline Wettergreen as La Fee

A rising star of the opera world will wave a magic wand over Milton Keynes next week in Glyndebourne’s enchanting production of Cendrillon (Cinderella).

Jules Massenet’s famed 1899 opera is reimagined in a glittering world of fantasy with lavish sets and costumes, directed by acclaimed actress Fiona Shaw (Harry Potter, Killing Eve).

Norwegian soprano Caroline Wettergreen stars in the opera as La Fee - the mischievous fairy who grants Cinderella’s dearest wish to go to the ball, but only until midnight.

“It’s a ridiculously fabulous character, and one who I adore playing,” said Caroline, who is still on cloud nine after winning this year’s Equinor Classical Music Award.

“She kind of controls every situation ... you find something within yourself to bring that out. I did the same part two years ago in Berlin and so I knew the character.

“The part is challenging in the way it travels throughout the voice all of the time. You have to be able to do that, and also enfuse it with something of yourself.”

Alix La Saux as Cinderella and Eleanore Pancrazi as the Prince

Alix La Saux as Cinderella and Eleanore Pancrazi as the Prince

Wettergreen studied at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo and at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen.

La Fee has some of the highest arias within Cendrillon. But for Wettergreen, who has already won plaudits for her performances as the Queen of The Night in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, it’s a challenge which leaves her unfazed.

“It’s the thing I’m supposed to do best,” she laughs. “As I developed my voice, I ended up gravitating towards the high vocal notes.

“La Fee is more of an unknown opera character to audiences, although Cendrillon has been taken up more in recent years.

“The advantage and disadvantage of The Queen of the Night is that everyone knows what’s coming, and so they’re all on the edge of their seats to hear those notes! The Queen is also a fabulous character, if you have any rage saved up it all comes flowing out!

“But as Cendrillion is set in a different period of time, I find La Fee rather more romantic.”

Under Fiona Shaw’s direction, Cendrillon has emerged as an effective collaboration between cast and director.

Wettergreen added: “Fiona gave us an outline of what she wanted from each character in the play. You use that outline to create a part that feels right, and together, you come up with a super character!

“It will also be my first time coming to Milton Keynes. It’s always exciting whenever you do a tour to come to a new theatre. I’ve heard great things about Milton Keynes!”

Glyndebourne’s Cendrillion plays at Milton Keynes Theatre on Wednesday, November 28, and Saturday, December 1. See here for tickets.

Glyndebourne’s twin production of Verdi’s La Traviata plays at the same theatre on Tuesday, November 27, and Friday, November 30. See here for tickets.